July 6, 2019

Kleiman v Craig Wright, part 3

There has been much reporting on the recent June 28th hearing in the case of Ira Kleiman v. Craig Wright, where the latter testified in person for the first time. Several reporters attended the hearing and relayed baffling events, but those of us who have been following the case were anxious to get a direct look at exactly how things played out. With the court transcript and exhibits in hand, let's go on that journey together.

May 8, 2019

Kleiman v Craig Wright, part 2

As part of the ongoing lawsuit against Craig Wright by the relatives of Dave Kleiman and in response to a court order to reveal details of Wright's supposed bitcoin holdings (including a long hinted-at blind trust), a filing about Wright's supposed bitcoin holdings was recently unsealed. While the bitcoin addresses contained within are redacted, it turns out they're not hard to guess.

April 28, 2019

CoinLab v MtGox: The imaginarium of Peter Vessenes

Recently the MtGox civil rehabilitation trustee, Nobuaki Kobayashi, announced a six month delay in proceedings due to disapproved claims still being disputed. The trustee doesn't refer to it directly, but the elephant in the room causing this delay is Peter Vessenes' CoinLab, who after a failed partnership attempt with MtGox in 2012/2013 is now demanding an outrageous $16B USD from the MtGox civil rehabilitation estate.

There have been various theories floating around how CoinLab could possibly be justifying this number, with little insight into their actual arguments, a problem not helped by CoinLab's attempts to seal official Japanese creditor records in order to conceal their actions. Recently though I acquired a copy of the last round of petitions to the Tokyo District Court, and have spent the last week dredging through the legal Japanese to get to the bottom of the situation.

February 27, 2018

Kleiman v Craig Wright: The bitcoins that never were

Today some news landed about a $10B lawsuit against Craig Wright (the Australian man who claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin), and it is an interesting read, but unfortunately for anyone involved, its claims have little basis in reality. The lawsuit purports that Wright fraudulently acquired large number of bitcoins owned by Dave Kleiman through forging various documents, but the very existence of those bitcoins in the first place is just another fantasy.

I had previously seen some of the material included as exhibits in the lawsuit, and my opinion was that all the documents that made specific testable claims as to owning bitcoins were relatively easy to debunk as simple backdated forgeries (possibly for use in Wright's alleged tax fraud schemes). I Am Not A Lawyer, but it seems somewhat fitting that Wright now finds himself sued by someone taking many of those claims at face value, as Wright's seemingly only defense would be to allow those prior claims to be proven false.

July 27, 2017

Breaking open the MtGox case, part 1

Earlier today news broke of an arrest in Greece of a Russian national suspected of running a large-scale money laundering operation focused on Bitcoin. The man has since been publicly identified as Alexander Vinnik, 38, and over $4 billion USD is said to have been trafficked through the operation since 2011.

We won't beat around the bush with it: Vinnik is our chief suspect for involvement in the MtGox theft (or the laundering of the proceeds thereof). This is the result of years of patient work, and these findings were surely independently uncovered by other investigators as well. Everyone who worked on the case have patiently kept quiet while forwarding findings to law enforcement, so as not to tip suspects off and to maximize the chances of arrests.

With such an arrest actually happening, we think today might — finally — be the day when we can begin talking about what we've actually been doing all this time and what we found. Thank you for your patience.

July 12, 2017

Comments on the Mark Karpelès trial

July 11 was the first day of proceedings for the anticipated trial of Mark Karpelès, CEO of the bankrupt MtGox bitcoin exchange. Karpelès was charged with creation and manipulation of private electronic records, as well as embezzlement of customer funds, or embezzlement of company funds, or breach of trust, in that order.

I was present in the courtroom for the entire first day, and I expect there will be a lot of interpretations and extrapolations based on the limited early information that will no doubt circulate online and in the media, so I will attempt to flesh out and explain what is actually going on through some brief commentary.

April 19, 2015

The missing MtGox bitcoins

We received a lot of positive feedback on our release of our preliminary investigation into the Willy bot, even though it was already quite old (written circa August 2014). We also said we hoped to release more of our information over time, even though we have to take some care doing so. But while we have good relations to responsibly acquire and exchange information and share efforts, and reception from people online has been very encouraging, official interest has been pretty low.

In recent weeks, there has been a lot of news surrounding the U.S. agents accused of large bitcoin thefts in early 2013, and their interactions with Silk Road as well as MtGox. In the wake of this, there has been intense speculation that what happened at MtGox may have been related to these agents.

With the next creditors' meeting also on the horizon, this seems like a pretty good time for me to step in and share a bit more of what we know. First of all: no, we don't think these agents are main characters in the story of the missing MtGox bitcoins, and the story doesn't begin in 2013 either.